King of Splices
Mar 30, 2005
Snowless California
Anybody use it? I am fixing to apply some Merit to some trees here and the local Bayer rep recommended applying some sort of normal growth stimulator (he said Miracle Grow). SUPERthrive is made just a few miles from my house and we've all seen the catchy (though vague, uninformative) ads. But has anyone ever really used this stuff?


Here are the only directions they offer for application rates:


Most of their website is about as worthless as their ads, but I found this useful bit of info:

Keep us posted, I have always wondered what this stuff is like. Its on the back of every industry magazine..........
I've been using this stuff for the last 10 years. It works great, all it is is sugars, B vitamins, and root hormone. A lot of stuffed shirts don't like it cause the label is tacky, BFD. Transplants, new plantings, they all get a a few drops mixed in the water.:evil:
I dont know whats in it and neither does the Govt of Canada, hence it isnt sold up here. but I DO know that I tried it in a rooting experiment years ago for cuttings and it kicked butt..
Just did a research project with this stuff on rooting of tea plants. Mainly developed callus tissue rather than root initials. I'll try to post the paper when I can find it. 8)

It is mainly rooting hormone (IBA, indolebutyric acid) and b vitamins and other minerals. There's much research available on this stuff, but it really depends on what you want to do? Here's a paper I wrote about auxins (rooting hormone) that talks a little bit about the IBA stuff, hopefully that can help clarify :|:

Well, I can't seem to attach so I'll add it to this post, sorry all.

Effects of auxins on root initiation and development

by Jon Perry
TPSS 420
Spring 2008


The term auxin was originally suggested to refer to substances that were capable of promoting growth in the manner of a growth hormone. (Haagen-Smit, 1931)
The study of auxins and plant hormones was initially sparked by Charles Darwin’s famous experiment where he removed the apical tip of a coleoptile and discovered that the plant no longer grew towards the light. Since that time, scientists and plant enthusiasts have been struggling to understand the anatomical, physiological and morphological functions that auxins play in plant growth and regulation. It was initially thought that auxins act to inhibit root growth, but further study revealed that at lower concentrations, auxins in fact initiated the development of root primordial and cell division in meristematic regions.
Although many mysteries surrounding plant hormones have been dispelled and disseminated within the scientific community and abroad, there is still much to be discovered in this important field of plant science. This paper will attempt to clarify some of the more basic physiological processes that take place in plants in relation to auxins and root initiation and development.

To understand the effects of auxins on the initiation and formation of roots, it is important to clarify several terms. Plant hormones are defined as “a substance which, produced in any one part of an organism, is transferred to another part and there influences a specific physiological process.” (Thimann, 1937) Auxins in turn are recognized as a specific group of plant hormones commonly called phytohormones, or hormones that are organic in nature and active in minute amounts and control many functions in plants including lateral root development, root hair initiation, phototropism, and cell expansion or elongation The auxins most commonly used in plant propagation are indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), indole-3-butyric acid (IBA), and 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA).
Plants undergo a process called ‘regeneration’ where differentiated, somatic cells reinitiate development and produce a new organ to restore parts that have been lost by injury or autonomy. (De Klerk, 2002) The central part of the root contains vascular xylem and phloem that are necessary for water and nutrient transport. The outermost cell layer is a single anatomically distinct layer of thin-walled pericycle cells. (Feldman, 1994) Pericycle cells undergo mitotic activity and divide to become founder cells in the development of lateral roots. Lateral roots in fact originate from pairs of pericycle cells, in several cell files positioned opposite the xylem pole, that initiate a series of divisions. (Casamiro et al., 2001) The ability of the pericycle cells to alter form and function once outside the meristematic regions is important in the development of adventitious lateral roots.
There are three different types of regeneration in plants: caulogensis (adventitious shoot formation); rhizogenesis (adventitious root formation); and somatic embryogenesis (adventitious embryo formation). (De Klerk, 2002) Of the three different types of regeneration, adventitious root formation occurs most readily. (De Klerk, 2002) The process of lateral root formation has been divided into several phases so that the effect of various compounds that act throughout the process of root formation can be more clearly understood. Several studies have suggested that cells have the ability to produce a root or shoot apical meristem, depending on the added hormones during the induction phase. (De Klerk, 2002) Depending on the phase of growth, auxins have the ability to inhibit or to encourage rooting formation and development.
Plant hormones are produced within the organism. IAA is one of several auxins that occur naturally in plants. Research has been done to determine the way plants synthesize IAA. Several metabolic pathways take place that regulate the biosynthesis and distribution of IAA in plant cell tissues. A study using Arabidopsis thaliana (a model plant) determined that the level of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) is regulated by the flux of indole-3-acetaldoxime through a cytochrome to a glucosinolate pathway. (Bak et al, 2001) By using T-DNA insertion techniques, scientists were able to determine the exact cytochrome responsible for the synthesis and regulation of IAA in plants.
With the increased concentration of auxins applied manually at basal meristems (such as the basal end of a stem in propagation), cell division and cell elongation are stimulated. Studies on the cell cycle in plants have revealed that sensitivity to auxin occurs at specific points, suggesting auxins as a central mediator of cell division. (Teale et al., 2005) KRP2 is a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor and has been determined to inhibit cell division when over-expressed, leading to a decreased number of lateral roots (Menges and Murray, 2002) In a study to determine the effect of auxins on cell division and lateral root formation, the use of NAA resulted in a strong ‘down-regulation’ of the KRP2 inhibitor. (Himanen et al, 2002) This suggests that auxins promote cell-division by suppressing this cell-cycle inhibitor. (Teal et al, 2005)
IAA has been found to be in higher concentrations in apical meristems, or areas of cell division and growing regions. Both IBA and NAA are synthesized forms of IAA and are the most commonly used plant hormones in propagation. This leads to an important question: if auxins exist naturally in plants, why is it necessary to apply them manually for propagation purposes? There has been debate whether auxin concentrations occurring naturally in plants is the limiting factor in the initiation of roots. However, it has been proven that with higher concentrations of exogenously applied auxins such as IBA and NAA, roots often develop more readily and with more overall growth . In addition, it has been hypothesized that auxin-dependent cells do not synthesize their own auxin and that cells of intact plant and transformed cells synthesize enough auxin for their division. (Kutacek, 1987)
Cell elongation is an important function that is directly aided by auxins. The first aspect of cell elongation or enlargement consists of two related processes, osmotic uptake of water that is driven by a gradient across the plasma membrane, and the extension or expansion of the cell wall area. As the cell enlarges, the mechanical properties are changed and the ability of the walls to undergo biochemical wall loosening (resulting in an overall increase in size) is increased. (Davies, 1987) Auxins have been proven to directly influence several of the complex series that leads to cell enlargement, specifically by increasing the rate of wall loosening events. (Davies, 1987)
Several factors influence the effectiveness of exogenous auxin applications. One important factor is the stage of development in which the cutting is treated with a plant hormone. Cells which are less differentiated in development are the most responsive to auxin treatments (Leopold, 1960) Although different species are more or less sensitive to auxin applications, in general younger growth in which cells have not had the chance to differentiate are more responsive to auxin treatments and more sensitive to toxicity by applications of high concentrations. (Leopold, 1960)
Environmental factors play a major role in the success of root initiation after auxin applications. Several important considerations are seasonal influences, photoperiod, light and temperature. Interestingly, when the entire cutting of a stem is exposed to light, root initiation is inhibited. On the other hand, if the cutting is embedded in a rooting medium and light a rooting stimulation is often produced (Stoutemyer and Close, 1946) For this reason it is common propagation practice to leave leaves and stems above the rooting media exposed to light for the given day length. Another environmental factor worth mentioning is the aeration and aerobic conditions of the propagation media. All known types of auxin stimulation of growth are aerobic in nature and hence it is not surprising that good aeration is essential to rooting of cuttings. (Leopold, 1960)


Because the use of exogenous auxin applications in plant propagation does not necessarily guarantee sufficient root initiation and development, much research is still needed to study the possibilities for alternative or enhanced methods of vegetative propagation. For the last sixty years the same practices of auxin applications have been used for the purposes of root initiation in plant propagation. There is still much to be discovered in the areas of cross-talk between auxin and other growth regulators. Some scientists predict that emphasis will inevitably be given to understanding the precise molecular nature of such interplay. (Teale et al, 2005) Another exciting area that deserves more attention is the relationship between wounding compounds and plant hormones. Experts have hinted towards future promise regarding the relationship of wounding compounds and auxins in conjunction with each other. Again, much research is still needed to clarify many yet fully understood areas in this field of study.

Literature Cited

Bak B., Tax F.E., Feldmann K.A., Galbraith D.W., Feyereisen R. (2001) CYP83B1, a Cytochrome P450 at the Metabolic Branch Point in Auxin and Indole Glucosinolate Biosynthesis in Arabidopsis. The Plant Cell USA 13:101-111

Casimiro I., Beeckman T., Graham N., Bhalerao R., Zhang H., Casero P., Sandberg G., Bennet M.J. (2003) Dissecting Arabidopsis lateral root development. Trends in Plant Sciences, Elseviere., 1360-1385/03

Casimiro I., Marchant A., Bhalerao R.P., Beeckman T., Dhooge S., Swarup R., Graham N., Inze D., Sandberg G., Casero P.J., Bennett M. (2001) Auxin transport promotoes Arabadopsis lateral root initiation. Plant Cell. Vol. 13, 843-852

Davies P.J. 1987. Plant Hormones and Their Role in Plant Growth and Development. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht.

DeKlerk G., (2002) Rooting of Microcuttings: Theory and Practice. In Vitro Cell. Dev. Biol. 38:415-422

Feldman L (1994) The maize root. In M Freeling, V Walbot, eds, The Maize Handbook. Springer, New York, pp 29–37.

Haagen-Smit, A. J. 1951. The history and nature of plant growth hormones. In F. Skoog (Ed.), Plant Growth Substances, Univ. of Wisc. Press, Madison.

Himanen K. Vuylsteke M, Vanneste S, Vercruysse S, Boucheron E, Alard P, Chriqui D, Van Montagu M, Inze D, Beeckman T (2004) Transcript profiling of early lateral root initiation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101: 5146-5151

Kutacek M., Bandurski R.S., Krekule J. 1988. Physiology and Biochemistry of Auxins in Plants. SPB Academic Publishing, Prague, Czechoslovakia

Leopold A. C. 1960. Auxin and Plant Growth. University of California Press, Los Angeles California

Menges M, Murray JA (2002) Synchronous Arabidopsis suspension cultures for analysis of cell-cycle gene activity. Plant J 30: 203-212

Stoutemyer, V. T. and A.W. Close 1946. Rooting cuttings and germinating seeds under fluorescent and cold cathode lighting. Ibid., 48:309-325

Teale W.D., Papanov I.A., Ditengou F., Palme K. (2005) Auxin and the developing root of Arabidopsis thaliana. Physiol Planta 123:130-138

Thimann, K. V. 1937. On the nature of inhibitions caused by auxins. Amer. Jour. Bot., 24:407-412

Vanneste S., Lies M., De Smet I., Himanen K., Naudts M., Inze D., Beeckman T. (2005) Auxin regulation of cell cycle and its role during lateral root initiation. Physiol Planta 123:139-146

They wont tell me what is in it, and the owners/inventors will only say it is not organic.
They wont tell me what is in it, and the owners/inventors will only say it is not organic.

same reason that the canadian regulatory body doesnt allow it up here. I remember when they came to yank it off the shelves in the early 90's, I worked for a store that was part of a chain, we had another outlet call us and warn us, when the people came to get our stock there was only 1 bottle left on the shelf... :shifty:
I use it in a cock tail with liquid green on nutrient deficent palms as a drench, or drench it into the crown. I think it works.